Truly shocking sales statistics as it relates to your follow up process:
48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
12% of sales people make more than three contacts
2% of sales are made on the first contact
3% of sales are made on the second contact
5% of sales are made on the third contact
10% of sales are made on the fourth contact 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact
Creating and using a follow up system is a guaranteed way to grow your business. In fact with less than 52% of all sales people following up with their prospects you will not only grow your business but you will stand out amongst your peers. And remember 80% of sales are made in the fifth to twelfth contact if you are in a market with heavy competition you literally eliminate your competitors by simply following up.
To learn more about creating a follow up system make sure you to read Creating a Follow Up Strategy where I discuss follow up strategies for existing customers.
Can SendOutCards really help you and your business generate more referrals? The answer is yes! The act of sending out thank you cards, birthday cards, follow up cards, and general thinking of you cards to your network on a consistent daily basis is guaranteed to generate you more referrals, customers, and business.
As you can see from the video it’s all about creating stronger relationships with the people in your network. Sending out greeting cards is a bit old fashioned but very effective. In fact in today’s world of email, texting, and social media saying thank you or happy birthday with an actual card allows you or your business to stand out among the crowd. The more you stand you the more business you receive!
If you truly want more business and referrals you need to consider implementing this relationship marketing tool. Visit our follow up tools section to learn more about SendOutCards for your business.
There are many reasons to send greeting cards to your customers. General follow up thank you cards, birthday cards, customer appreciation cards, and of course holiday cards. All of these customer follow up greeting cards should be a standard marketing practice for any business.
One of my favorite opportunities to reach out to existing customers and create stronger relationships is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving after all is all about gratitude and what better way to show gratitude to your customers than by sending them a Thanksgiving card and letting them know how much you appreciate their business?
I truly believe in sending Thanksgiving cards to follow up with your customers and prospects. In fact I have recent memories of handwriting over 500 Thanksgiving cards to my clients not too long ago. This was a huge and exhausting task with each card containing two or three lines of personalized text. I spent well over two months completing this process! And while I was all gung-ho to send out holiday greeting cards to my clients as well… It was just not going to happen. I had all the holiday cards on my desk but could not get them completed in the two remaining weeks I had left. At the time I remember thinking there must be a better to get this done… Of course there is a better way and I discovered it about six months later. The next time I mailed Thanksgiving cards to my clients I sent 600 and did them all in about four hours instead of two months! I used an incredible system called SendOutCards and you can learn more about this process by visiting my Follow Up Tools page.
There are many reasons to send out Thanksgiving cards to your clients, prospects, and referral sources. The main one being appreciation. Everyone likes to be acknowledged and appreciated and when you do this your clients will do more business with you, prospects will start doing business with you, and your referral sources will send you even more referrals.
Now is the time! Start following up with your customers and prospects today with Thanksgiving cards!
Last week I had the opportunity to speak at the Cool Twitter Conferences at the House of Blues in Hollywood. My topic for my discussion was Using twitter to Attract More Clients, Increase Your Referrals, and Maintain Top of Mind Awareness With Your Customers. It’s a big topic about using twitter one of the hottest social media sites as a follow up tool.
I started the discussion with a question… Are you giving business to your competitors? The answer for many businesses is YES! Have you heard this before? “The fortune is in the follow up” or the really overused yet clearly correct “People do business with people they Know, LIKE, and TRUST!” These are great statements and both are true yet many businesses do not have any follow up strategy and don’t really understand how to create the “know, like, and trust” feeling with their clients and prospects.
So what is a follow up strategy? It’s about creating a system for follow up which will be used with every new client, prospect, or referral source. The system could look something like this:
New Customer Follow Up System:
Day 1 – new customer welcome email
Day 1 – new customer welcome card
Day 1 – new customer welcome tweet on twitter
Week 2 – follow up phone call checking to insure client is happy with purchase
Week 4 – follow up card “It’s been 30 days since your purchase and we want to make sure you are happy”
Week 4 – follow up tweet on twitter similar to the week 4 card
Week 8 – follow up phone call just “checking in”
Week 12 – follow up card Discussion additional products or services you might offer
I can keep going but you have the idea right? The best way to increase your referrals with your customers and clients is to have a follow up strategy in place. Of course having it in place is only the first step! You must be committed to your strategy, you want to make sure once you start following up you keep it going! You might want to read a previous post, Creating Great Follow UP With Your Clients in 7 Simple Steps where I went into more detail about this process.
Do you have a follow up strategy? Please take a moment and tell us what you are doing by leaving a comment.
A referral and follow up system… You may be asking yourself what do I need that for? I was reminded about a pretty well know fact after reading yesterdays post on Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch titled My Most Excellently Flawed Referral Survey. The survey questions had to do with the percentage of your business coming from referrals or word of mouth. Here is what John found:
69.3% felt over 50% of their business came by way of referral and yet, 79% further admitted they had no well-defined system to promote referral generation. The conclusion is we know how important referrals are yet we don’t take the time to create a system to attract them!
John also asked if you are not getting a consistent flow of referrals why not? 20% of the participants of the survey just skipped this question! Maybe after realizing so much business comes from referrals and acknowledging they have no system that thinking about why was just too much must for those in the survey to handle?
For years I have heard and seen similar numbers like this. Business owners and top sales professionals say things like the live for referrals yet if I ask the simple question of what do you do when you receive a referral I more often than not get a blank stare.
Receiving more referrals is pretty simple and there are many ways to do this.
Simply asking your customers for referrals or people they know who can also use your product or service is a great place to start.
Making sure you acknowledge and reward the referral senders will naturally grow the amount of referrals you receive. People will enjoy helping you and when you acknowledge and appreciate them and will in turn help you more.
Staying top of mind with your customers, prospects, and referral sources will generate more business and referrals for you. You can do this by calling, emailing, sending greeting cards, and newsletters. Staying top of mind is customers and prospects is about creating a relationship.
The best referral and follow up system I have seen and used for years is SendOutCards. When used correctly you can create an explosion of referrals with very little effort. The reason for this is SendOutCards is a great system and once set up can go on autopilot. You can learn more about SendOutCards and how it might work for you by visiting this site. Fill out the contact information and I will call and talk to you about it personally.
Whether you use index cards, Excel, Outlook, SendOutCards, Act!, Goldmine, Saleceforce.com, or any of the many other CRM tools on the market the important thing is you use one. Commit to a system, spend the time to get it set up to work for your business, and then use it no matter what! The benefits of using your referral and follow up system will outweigh any time or pain you might feel getting it started!
So tell me, what system do you have? What are you doing to increase your referrals and follow up with your clients and prospects?
Last week I talked about opportunities, following up from my post on SWOT Analysis: Simple Tool to Improve Your Business. If you missed one of these previous posts it may be best to go back and review them in order.
Today I will review our discussion on Threats (the “T” in SWOT) as it applies to my business as well as the 15 other small and mid size companies in the exercise. The discussion on Threats was led by Angie Swartz, Executive Coach and Founder of Six Figure Moms Club. Angie opened the analysis with a brief discussion on threats. Angie quoted from Wikipedia’s definition of threats: “Threats: external conditions which could do damage to the business’s performance”.
The group had the following ideas to think about before our discussion insuring each person was prepared to discuss possible threats:
What is your competition offering that you are not?
Are competitive businesses moving into your area?
Are economic trends changing your customer spending habits?
What social trends are impacting your business?
Angie then opened it up to the group for discussion asking members to discuss their discovered threats. Here is some of the discussion:
Justin Stewart, Customer Service Supervisor with San Diego National Bank talked about his larger institutions undercutting the value of what his bank can offer and the negative perception and distrust of financial companies in the current market. Leon Alchalel Investment Realtor with Keller Williams added while this is a threat it is also an opportunity because more people and businesses are looking for service the larger institutions cannot offer. Justin also added that while the larger bank institutions are getting a lot of negative publicity, San Diego National Bank is financially very strong which attracts new clients looking for financially strong institutions.
Katina Jackson, Independent Associate with Pre-Paid Legal said her biggest threat is the amount of Pre-Paid Legal representatives in her market. Art Kriegsmann, President of H.R. Servs., Inc. asked if there was a way to separate herself from the other Pre-Paid Legal representatives? Katina stated she focuses on seniors working within that niche market. She also does a lot of networking events and then follows up with each of them creating a stronger connection. This connection leads to more clients and referrals.
I found identifying my threats the most difficult part in the SWOT Analysis. I look at threats as a negative which I typically stay away from. Looking at negative influences around me is like adding fuel to a fire that I am choosing not to see. With that said I also realize the need to be aware of both the positive and negative around me to help identify potential opportunities. So with much thought the main threat I have identified is the perception of the businesses and sales professionals I work with.
Right now, most small business owners are cutting back on all marketing and advertising like appreciation campaigns, referral strategies, and follow up systems, as this is a simple fix to cash flow problems. The current economy amplifies the creativity in coming up with a great excuse not to do it implement new marketing and advertising ideas. The reality is now is the best time to implement these types of strategies! Implementing strategies like this will not only bring in new customers now it will also propel the growth of the company for years to come.
The following are examples of threats that might me affecting your business right now:
As a business owner or sales professional, when competitors move into your area that is a threat.
When internet companies focus on your target market or your area, this is a threat.
When economic trends change, this could be a threat. When social trends change like Baby Boomers leaving the workforce and Generation Y moves into the workforce, this could be a threat to you.
I encourage you to be aware of these threats and discover creative ways to react to them. Remember threats can be looked at as a negative or you can see them for an opportunity to create positive change, the choice is yours.